A Connecticut woman who sued the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club claiming that she was struck in the face by a cabbage during this year’s parade has asked a federal judge for more time to try to identify her alleged assailant.
Jean Brown’s lawsuit, filed in May in New Orleans, alleges the cabbage was “thrown overhand, like a baseball” by “a float rider from the top deck of a float.” The impact knocked her off her feet, causing injuries that required several surgeries, according to the suit.
But figuring out just who tossed the cabbage has proved tricky.
On Monday, Brown’s New Orleans attorney, Jill Willhoft, asked U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to grant a three-month extension to provide more time for interviewing and taking depositions from float riders “who may be in a better position to have more knowledge of the positions of the riders on the float,” according to a two-page court filing.
Willhoft’s filing says the suit’s parties have narrowed down which float the cabbage was likely tossed from, and they have a list of its riders, but it’s unclear where they were standing on the float because the club did not keep a list of riders’ positions, meaning the parties are “unable at this time to pinpoint the individual responsible.”
“Because there are at least 30 riders on the float in question, this process will require additional time,” Willhoft said in the filing.
The case previously was set for trial in April.
The lawsuit also names the parade’s insurance underwriter, Lloyd’s of London.
The annual St. Patrick’s parade typically draws hundreds of marchers and riders parading in tuxedos, with some participants trading flowers for kisses along the route. Cabbages are considered a prized throw of the parade, which is held to celebrate Irish heritage. Carrots, onions and MoonPies also are often tossed into the crowds.
Brown’s lawsuit seeks more than $75,000 in damages for what it describes as “severe and disabling injuries, including but not limited to bleeding, multiple fractures to her face, compression to her facial nerves, a break in her eye socket, a tear in her cornea, surgeries and also likely requiring future surgeries.”
Ronnie Burke, the club’s vice president, said earlier this year that the club’s rules stipulate that cabbages should be handed or tossed underhand to spectators standing a few feet away. “If it’s thrown overhand, that is absolutely against our rules and our regulations,” he said at the time.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.